INDIANAPOLIS — MOPpy, a beguiling mop head with blue eyes perched atop a red handle, is the title character of a recently published book written by an Indiana University School of Social Work faculty member that teaches children how to make the right choices in life and what to do should they make a wrong one.
“Teaches Me to Make Right Choices” introduces the MOP Rules, which are designed to get children to think before they act and speak. MOP stands for me, others and property. It also includes the 4 A’s: admit, apologize, accept and amends, the steps they need to follow to correct a wrong choice.
Written by Carolyn Gentle-Genitty, Indiana University School of Social Work interim director of the Bachelor of Social Work Program at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, the book is based on concepts developed by Susan C. Nichter, a graduate of the IU School of Social Work. Nichter developed the correct choices idea while working as a school social worker for more than 25 years.
The book is illustrated with drawings by students at Eden Harris Elementary School in Indianapolis.
Nichter and the MOP program were recently honored with the Program of the Year Award by the International Association for Truancy and Dropout Prevention. While Nichter had created a program that educators saw as valuable, the lesson materials were contained in a binder and not readily available to anyone else.
“The book for me was something that needed to be done,” Gentle-Genitty said, because it gives young people and adults alike a common approach to talking about behavior.
Gentle-Genitty, whose research interests include anti-social behavior and gang violence, said she can’t help but think of MOP when she talks with gang members. “I wish they had some basic model of how to make a decision. This is so simple. I believe it will have a lasting impact.”
In the book, Gentle-Genitty writes that the MOP method is based on core values of honesty, responsibility and respect. It encourages thought, action and atonement and provides students, teachers and parents a common language to discuss discipline.
MOP Rules ask three questions: Could this hurt me or get me into trouble? Could this hurt others or get others into trouble? And could this hurt somebody’s property? If the answer is yes to any of the questions, then don’t do it.
If a wrong choice is made, the 4 A’s come into play. The first step is to admit it. The second is to apologize by looking the person in the eye and saying, “I am sorry,” in a sincere way. The next step is to accept the consequences of a wrong choice.
The final step is to make amends. Making amends means that if you are sorry, you should do more than simply say the words; you should try to show it.
The book is available at Amazon. A curriculum that can be used by teachers to introduce MOP into the classroom is being developed and will be available at Amazon as well.